B-29347, OCTOBER 14, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 348

B-29347: Oct 14, 1942

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REESTABLISHMENT AFTER LOSS OF ORIGINALS THE KEEPING OF RECORDS OF EMPLOYEES' ACCRUED ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY. THEREFORE THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION AS TO THE AMOUNT OF ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE AN EMPLOYEE HAS TO HIS CREDIT ORDINARILY WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE. NO OBJECTION WILL BE MADE TO THE ACCEPTANCE BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT OF THE SWORN STATEMENT OF ANY EMPLOYEE. FOR THE PURPOSE OF REESTABLISHING HIS SERVICE AND LEAVE RECORDS WHICH APPARENTLY HAVE BEEN LOST AS A RESULT OF ENEMY ACTION. 1942: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 28. AS FOLLOWS: THE DEPARTMENT IS IN RECEIPT OF A LETTER FROM ONE OF ITS EMPLOYEES WHOSE SERVICE RECORD WAS APPARENTLY LOST DUE TO ENEMY OCCUPATION OF THE AREA IN WHICH HE WAS FORMERLY EMPLOYED.

B-29347, OCTOBER 14, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 348

ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE RECORDS OF EMPLOYEES - JURISDICTION; REESTABLISHMENT AFTER LOSS OF ORIGINALS THE KEEPING OF RECORDS OF EMPLOYEES' ACCRUED ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY, AND, THEREFORE THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION AS TO THE AMOUNT OF ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE AN EMPLOYEE HAS TO HIS CREDIT ORDINARILY WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE. NO OBJECTION WILL BE MADE TO THE ACCEPTANCE BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT OF THE SWORN STATEMENT OF ANY EMPLOYEE, AS TO THE AMOUNT OF LEAVE PREVIOUSLY TAKEN BY HIM, FOR THE PURPOSE OF REESTABLISHING HIS SERVICE AND LEAVE RECORDS WHICH APPARENTLY HAVE BEEN LOST AS A RESULT OF ENEMY ACTION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, OCTOBER 14, 1942:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 28, 1942, AS FOLLOWS:

THE DEPARTMENT IS IN RECEIPT OF A LETTER FROM ONE OF ITS EMPLOYEES WHOSE SERVICE RECORD WAS APPARENTLY LOST DUE TO ENEMY OCCUPATION OF THE AREA IN WHICH HE WAS FORMERLY EMPLOYED. THIS LETTER STATES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"1. INFORMATION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHAT ACTION, IF ANY, IS NECESSARY TO DETERMINE THE AMOUNT OF SICK AND ANNUAL LEAVE TO WHICH I WAS ENTITLED AT THE TIME OF MY TRANSFER TO THE SACRAMENTO AIR DEPOT ON DECEMBER 13, 1942 (1941).

"2. ON THE ABOVE DATE I WAS TRANSFERRED FROM THE PHILIPPINE AIR DEPOT TO THE SACRAMENTO AIR DEPOT; BUT DUE TO CONDITIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES AT THAT TIME, THERE WAS NO TRANSFER OF MY SERVICE RECORD AND IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE LEAVE RECORD MAINTAINED THERE NO LONGER EXISTS. MARCH 28, 1942 I WAS TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL FOR AN APPENDICITIS OPERATION, AND WAS ABSENT FROM WORK UP TO, AND INCLUDING, APRIL 21, 1942. IN THE ABSENCE OF RECORDS PRIOR TO DECEMBER 13, 1941, THE SACRAMENTO AIR DEPOT PERSONNEL OFFICE WAS UNABLE TO ALLOW ME CREDIT FOR ANY SICK LEAVE I HAD ACCUMULATED DURING THE PRECEDING FIVE YEARS' SERVICE.

"3. ON APRIL 5, 1937 I WAS APPOINTED A SENIOR STOREKEEPER AT THE PHILIPPINE AIR DEPOT. FROM THAT DATE TO THE PRESENT THERE HAS BEEN NO BREAK IN MY SERVICES, AND NO ABSENCES WITHOUT LEAVE. I AM WILLING TO STATE UNDER OATH THAT TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF, I TOOK ONLY TWO DAYS' SICK LEAVE FROM THE DATE OF MY APPOINTMENT UP TO MARCH 28, 1942. ANY ADDITIONAL SICK LEAVE DUE ME ACCUMULATED AND WAS PLACED TO MY CREDIT. ON JULY 16, 1941 I SAILED FROM MANILA FOR 120 DAYS' ACCUMULATED LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES. FOLLOWING MY ARRIVAL IN SAN FRANCISCO ON AUGUST 4, 1941, I WAS ON LEAVE STATUS EXCEPT FOR ONE WEEK, OCTOBER 30, 1941 TO NOVEMBER 6, 1941, WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY AT WRIGHT FIELD AND THE FAIRFIELD AIR DEPOT; AND ONE WEEK, DECEMBER 6, 1941 TO DECEMBER 12, 1941, WHILE ON DUTY AT THE SACRAMENTO AIR DEPOT. ON DECEMBER 13, 1941, TWO DAYS BEFORE THE EXPIRATION OF MY LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES, A TRANSFER WAS EFFECTED AND I WAS PLACED ON DUTY STATUS AT MY PRESENT STATION.'

THE DEPARTMENT IS NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE PROPER ACTION TO BE TAKEN IN SUCH CASES. THE QUESTION IS THEREFORE PRESENTED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION AS TO WHETHER A SWORN STATEMENT BY THE EMPLOYEE WOULD BE ACCEPTED BY YOUR OFFICE AS SUFFICIENT BASIS FOR REESTABLISHING HIS SERVICE RECORD AND MAKING PAYMENT FOR SICK LEAVE EARNED AND ACCUMULATED DURING FOREIGN SERVICE.

YOUR EARLY CONSIDERATION OF THE QUESTION HERE INVOLVED AND ADVICE AS TO POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS WILL BE APPRECIATED.

THE GRANTING OF ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE OF ABSENCE TO EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT PRIMARILY IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE MATTER, SUBJECT TO THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE CONTROLLING LEAVE STATUTES AND REGULATIONS. IT FOLLOWS THAT THE KEEPING OF THE RECORD OF AN INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEE'S ACCRUED ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY, AND THUS, THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION AS TO THE AMOUNT OF ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE AN EMPLOYEE HAS TO HIS CREDIT ORDINARILY IS NOT FOR QUESTIONING BY THIS OFFICE. AS HAVING A BEARING UPON THE MATTER PRESENTED, ATTENTION IS INVITED TO SECTION II OF THE ACT OF MARCH 7, 1942, PUBLIC LAW 490, 56 STAT. 146, PROVIDING AS FOLLOWS:

THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED, OR SUCH PERSON AS HE MAY DESIGNATE IS AUTHORIZED TO SETTLE THE ACCOUNTS OF PERSONS FOR WHOSE ACCOUNT PAYMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 2 TO 7, BOTH INCLUSIVE, OF THIS ACT, AND THE ACCOUNTS OF SURVIVORS OF CASUALTIES TO SHIPS, STATION AND MILITARY INSTALLATIONS WHICH RESULT IN LOSS OR DESTRUCTION OF DISBURSING RECORDS, AND SUCH SETTLEMENTS SHALL BE CONCLUSIVE UPON THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT IN EFFECTING SETTLEMENTS OF THE ACCOUNTS OF DISBURSING OFFICERS. ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

IN THE LIGHT OF THE TERMS OF THE CONTROLLING LEAVE LAWS AND REGULATIONS AND HAVING REGARD FOR THE ABOVE-QUOTED PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 7, 1942 (SEE DECISION B-28386, DATED SEPTEMBER 7, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 192, TO YOU), THIS OFFICE IS NOT REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE ACCEPTANCE BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT OF THE SWORN STATEMENT OF THE INVOLVED EMPLOYEE (WHOSE LEAVE RECORD APPARENTLY HAS BEEN LOST BY THE ENEMY OCCUPATION OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS) AS A SUFFICIENT BASIS FOR REESTABLISHING HIS SERVICE AND LEAVE RECORDS AND FOR MAKING PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION DURING SICK LEAVE ADMINISTRATIVELY GRANTED ACCORDINGLY, SUBJECT, OF COURSE, TO THE LIMITATIONS FIXED BY THE CONTROLLING LEAVE ACTS. SEE 21 COMP. GEN. 158. HOWEVER, IN CONNECTION WITH THE REESTABLISHMENT OF THE SERVICE AND LEAVE RECORDS ON THE BASIS INDICATED, IT WOULD APPEAR ADVISABLE, IF POSSIBLE, THAT THE EMPLOYEE'S AFFIDAVIT BE CORROBORATED BY STATEMENTS FROM FELLOW EMPLOYEES OR IMMEDIATE SUPERVISORS WHO MAY HAVE SOME KNOWLEDGE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S LEAVE STATUS.